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Date of the Event: 06.15.2008Lee Martin - Can't stop the Hit Men
Event: European B Championships Race Report
Type: 1/8th RallyX
Name: Lee Martin
Qualifiers: (format: Two from four to count)
Date: 13th-15th June
Round 1: Morning came, the track was damp from the rainfall the night before which had put a halt to the last round of practice, giving us only 3 attempts to master the track. I was eager to start my first race and after watching Darren Bloomfield in the run before, it got me in the right frame of mind. My car hit the track in the very capable hands of my Mechanic Bob Ryan and on JConcepts Blue cross hairs. The track was still a bit wet and the traction was much needed. We also had the new 16mm Associated Big Bores on the car, which caused much interest. I was full of confidence and I believe this showed as I went round with minimal mistakes to TQ by around 7 seconds, a good start to the day.
Round 2: There was was a long wait in between rounds; we had around a 4 hour gap until we were back out on the track again. This time I opted to use the harder yellow compound Cross Hair tyre as the sun was shining and the track was heating up. The tyres worked great and felt easier to drive and faster than Blues. The run was once again drama less and went on to TQ round 2 of the meeting in style with the first 10 lap run.
Round 3: Round 3 came and once again we had the car looking like new thanks to Bob and bullet proof! This round I decided to try some Double Dees as the heat was up and the track was grooving up well in places. We only made a small error with back markers and set up another 10 lap run. This time was to be beat later in the round by Martin Bayer who seemed to like the track conditions, drove full punch and looked to be a handful We settled in with second knowing we still needed to do well in the last round.
Round 4: Our heads were in full concentration mode for the last round; I was waiting for my heat and watching my good friend Darren race his car round in his style. It was full punch but controlled and he put together a very good run. I must admit I felt the pressure ease as I know anyone else would find it hard to beat.
Darren has been quite unstoppable in the UK throughout qualifying, he's just has bad luck in the finals. I went with Yellow Hit Men on the car, 4 rounds, 4 different types of tyre! It must mean they're all good! I was running well, and was very close to beating Darren's time, but a large mistake over the fast back section put an end to that and I ended up 5 seconds adrift. Both myself and Darren watch Martin's last round and he couldn't get his car around fast enough to beat Darren's time, gifting me TQ with two round wins.
Mains: (format: Christmas tree finals ) First up was the Semi final, this hosed myself and Darren. The nerves settled in time for the start and knowing I had Bob and Craig Drescher in the pits filled me with confidence. The buzzer went; myself and Darren cleared off into the distance. I lead most of the race excluding about 5 seconds when I crashed and Darren hit the same car I managed to. I took the win by 2 seconds and with it pole for the Main on my yellow compound Hit Men.
The main was up, and tyre wear was looking to be an issue with many drivers choosing hard compounds in order to last. I opted to use yellow Hit Men again, the same as the Semi as they last well and I believed they would do the 45 min final. We set off and it was obvious it was going to be a 2 horse race once again, with Me and Darren disappearing and lapping drivers after a matter of 5 minutes. Darren nipped through to lead for a couple of laps before we entered the pits, no more than a second apart the whole time. After we exited the pits together Darren's engine decided it didn't want to run and flamed out. This was my chance to build a lead.
After Darren suffered another flame out I relaxed and just drove, crashing only once in the 45 minutes, the tyres stayed good and started getting faster in places. I eventually won by 2 laps over a hard charging Darren Bloomfield who had passed the field to get himself back to second! Top job! So my First European title and I'm chuffed!!!
Products Used/Notable Happenings:
JConcepts Hit Men, Cross Hairs and Double Dees. Prototype 16mm big bores.
First UK driver to win a Euro in 8th.
Many Thanks to: JConcepts, Team Associated, Reedy, Sirio, Byron fuel, CML, BC1, MK Racing, 1st Models, RC Art, Paint By Wez, and bigger thanks to Bob Ryan, Craig Drescher & Lizzer!!!